Third-seeded Daniil Medvedev captured his first career clay-court title with a 7-5, 7-5 victory against No. 7 seed Holger Rune on Sunday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
It marked the sixth ATP Masters 1000 crown and 20th career title for the 27-year-old Russian, who waited out a nearly two-hour rain delay in the Italian capital.
"I always want to believe in myself and I always want to win the biggest tournaments in the world," Medvedev said. "But at the same time, I didn't think I could win a Masters 1000 on clay in my career because usually I hated it, I hated playing on it. I didn't feel good on it and nothing was working.
"... Then when I came here I felt so good in practice and I told my coach, 'I don't know what is happening but I am feeling amazing, so let's see how it goes.' But then you have to play the toughest opponents in the world to try to make it. I am really happy I managed to do it and to prove to myself and everyone else that I am capable of doing it."
Medvedev and his 20-year-old Danish opponent stayed on serve until Medvedev broke through in the final game of the opening set.
Rune broke Medvedev to open the second set and built a 5-3 lead, only to falter and lose his serve in the 10th and deciding 12th games.
The one-hour, 42-minute showdown was competitive throughout, as Medvedev finished with 21 winners and nine unforced errors compared to 20 and nine for Rune.
"It was a tough match," Medvedev said. "I think we were both a bit nervous at the start and I think we were both missing our basics. We were missing some easy shots, so I am happy I managed to step it up at the end of the first set.
"But then at the start of the second set he stepped it up straight away and I was like 'OK, this is the moment I have to start playing better and go to his level.' Then it was a top match from this stage."
Rune was trying to become the youngest champion in Rome since a 19-year-old Rafael Nadal lifted the trophy in 2006.
Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon
France's Gregoire Barrere defeated countryman Corentin Moutet 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the second round in Lyon, France.
Peru's Juan Pablo Varillas fired 10 aces and outlasted Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 in another first-round match.
Britain's Jack Draper needed only 75 minutes to complete a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Alexandre Muller of France.
Gonet Geneva Open
Italy's Marco Cecchinato knocked out No. 5 seed Ben Shelton 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in the first round in Switzerland.
Cecchinato converted four of 11 break chances in the two-hour, two-minute victory, improving to 7-0 this year in opening-round matches.
Christopher Eubanks defeated French wild card Benoit Paire 7-6 (2), 6-3 in Sunday's only other match. Eubanks saved three of four break points.
--Field Level Media